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§ 162. St. Eigil.

I. Sanctus Eigil, Fuldensis abbas: Opera, in Migne, Tom. CV. col. 381–444. His Carmina are in Poetae Latini aevi Carolini, ed. Dümmler I. 2 (Berlin, 1881).

II. S. Eigilis vita auctore Candido monacho Fuldensi, in Migne CV. col. 383–418. Hist. Lit. de la France, IV. 475–478. Ceillier, XII. 272, 273. Ebert, II. Cf. Carl Schwartz: Uebersetzung und Bemerkungen zu Eigil’s Nachrichten über die Gründung und Urgeschichte des Klosters Fulda. Fulda, 1858.

Eigil was a native of Noricum, the name then given to the country south of the Danube, around the rivers Inn and Drave, and extending on the south to the banks of the Save. In early childhood, probably about 760, he was placed in the famous Benedictine monastery of Fulda in Hesse, whose abbot, its founder Sturm (Sturmi, Sturmin), was his relative. There Eigil lived for many years as a simple monk, beloved and respected for piety and learning. Sturm was succeeded on his death (779) by Baugolf, and on Baugolf’s resignation Ratgar became abbot (802). Ratgar proved to be a tyrant,11591159    See section on Rabanus Maurus. and expelled Eigil because he was too feeble to work. In 817, Ratgar was deposed, and the next year (818) Eigil was elected abbot. A few months afterwards, Ratgar appeared as a suppliant for readmission to the monastery. “It was not in Eigil’s power to grant this request, but his influence was used to gain for it a favorable response at court [i.e. with Louis the Pious], and Ratgar for thirteen years longer lived a submissive and penitent member of the community which had suffered so much at his hands.11601160    Mullinger, Schools of Charles the Great, London, 1877, pp. 141, 142. This single incident in the life of Eigil goes far to prove his right to the title of saint.

Loath as he had been to accept the responsible position of abbot in a monastery which was in trouble, he discharged its duties with great assuiduity. He continued Ratgar’s building operations, but without exciting the hatred and rebellion of his monks. On the contrary, Fulda once more prospered, and when he died, June 15, 822, he was able to give over to his successor and intimate friend, Rabanus Maurus, a well ordered community.

The only prose writing of Eigil extant is his valuable life of Sturm.11611161    Migne, CV. col. 423-444. It was written by request of Angildruth, abbess of Bischofheim, and gives an authentic account of the founding of Fulda. Every year on Sturm’s day (Dec. 17) it was read aloud to the monks while at dinner. Eigil’s own biography was written by Candidus, properly Brunn, whom Ratgar had sent for instruction to Einhard at Seligenstadt, and who was principal of the convent school under Rabanus Maurus. The biography is in two parts, the second being substantially only a repetition in verse of the first.11621162    The second part is in Dümmler, Poetae, II. pp. 94-117.

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